Russia is just the ninth most populous country in the world and has only the eleventh largest economy, yet its influence on the world stage is much larger than you would expect based on economic indicators. Touring the Kremlin’s history, from the Czars, to Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev, to the modern democratic era of Yeltsin, Medvedev and Putin, we will grade the accuracy of Churchill’s take on Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” This session will examine why Russia has an outsized impact on geopolitical tectonics and how it exercises its power. What are the animating principles of Russia’s foreign policy? What are the prospects of the Russian economy, its democracy, and its demographic challenges? Also, what is the current state of play of the Putin administration, and what do recent elections foretell about who follows Vladimir Vladimirovich as President? Most importantly, the session evaluates Russia’s relations both with its neighbors and the West. Are we in a “new Cold War?” Will the rise of China alter Russia’s geopolitical grand strategy? What is the future of Russia’s relationship with the United States?